Weekend update

Happy Easter! The FEHBlog witnessed a sweet Washington Nationals bottom of the ninth win against the St. Louis Cardinals. Best of luck to the Washington Wizards in their first round NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls.

Congress is out of session this week. Saturday April 26 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Here’s a link where you can find a location near you to safely dispose of unused prescription and OTC drug.

The FEHBlog has noted that the two largest prescription benefit managers CVS Caremark and Express Scripts recently issued their annual utilization reports. Consultant IMS Health issued its own study with the top line finding — “Total spending on U.S. medicines increased 1.0 percent on a real per capita basis in 2013, while the use of healthcare services overall rose for the first time in three years [as the impact of the Great Rescession receded].  The New York Times had a story about all three studies last week which notes that

the IMS report also found that more patients were opting to visit the doctor, go to the hospital and fill prescriptions for drugs in 2013. Visits to specialists increased by 4.9 percent, the report said, and patients filled an average of 12 prescriptions a year, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year.

It also worth noting that Express Scripts announced Friday afternoon that it has been awarded a monster seven year long contract to provide all sorts of prescription drug services to TRICARE.

Finally, last week, CMS’s Hospital Compare website added psychiatric care quality data according to iHealthbeat. CMS press release explains that

Beginning April 17, 2014, Hospital Compare will feature data from 1,753 inpatient psychiatric facilities on patient care for the period of October 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.  Public reporting will allow consumers to directly compare facilities based on data collected for the following measures:

  • Hours of Physical Restraint Use
  • Hours of Seclusion Use
  • Post-Discharge Continuing Care Plan Created
  • Post-Discharge Continuing Care Plan Transmitted to Next Level of Care Provider Upon Discharge

Hospital Compare is based on data from all hospital, not just Medicare, admissions.